Voices that Matter: Inspirational food for thought

DIANE XAVIER | 5/11/2015, 10:51 a.m.
With the school year coming to a close, Paul Quinn College concluded their speaker series, Voices that Matter, on April ...
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The Dallas Examiner

With the school year coming to a close, Paul Quinn College concluded their speaker series, Voices that Matter, on April 14 with guests Hattie Hill, president and CEO of Women’s Foodservice Forum, and Cheryl “Action” Jackson, president of Minnie’s Food Pantry in Plano.

Hill began the talk and encouraged students to follow their dreams. She shared her story on how she rose from poverty to success.

“I came from a world similarly to many of you students in this room,” she told the audience. “The question is, where do we go here from now? My background is that I run the Women’s Foodservice Forum and that is an organization that help’s someone take it to the next level in the food service industry. It is a nonprofit global organization that’s all about promoting people to the next level. Big companies like McDonald’s and Coca-Cola are always looking for talent and they are looking for people like you. We need people not just selling burgers but we need lawyers, accountants and business people to help drive the business.”

Hill has run her own company for 32 years.

“They key to all of this is understanding the values that come into this space,” Hill said. “And another thing is that you fail at things because when you try to do things, you are not always successful but you have to keep trying and not give up. I’m from Arkansas and grew up on a farm with a single mom who had six kids. We were on food stamps and welfare.”

Despite this, Hill said her mother, who did not have an education, told her and her siblings that they had to get an education.

“My mom felt that getting an education was the key to getting out of a difficult situation,” she said. “She told me that we had to find strength in your struggle. I learned that struggles are sometimes good because that’s the stuff that makes you who you are. Along the way, I made a lot of mistakes and did a lot of crazy stuff but I always knew that there has always been a voice in the back of my head that told me I had to do what was right. And that is where character comes from. I grew up in a tough life but I always knew and my mother always said if you get an education then the rest of it will come. You have to trust the journey.”

Hill told students the goal is for them to take it to the next level in whatever endeavor they have.

She also talked about overcoming her struggles with difficult bosses when she worked as a psychologist at a Rehabilitation Center in Hot Springs, Arkansas.

“I had this one boss who was in his 60’s, a White male and when I started telling him what I was doing he laid back in his chair and told me ‘Hattie, I don’t need no so-called educated Black woman coming in here telling me what to do,’” she said. “I was so upset when he told me this and walked home to my apartment and started crying. I called my mom and told her what happened and she replied that I need to get back to work and figure out how to work with that person.